General Body Meeting


9:00PM-12:00AM, Benjamin Franklin Room, Houston Hall

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Administrator Meetings
  1. Amy Gutmann
  2. Student Registration and Financial Services
  3. Upcoming
  1. Council of Undergraduate Deans (CUD)
  2. Campaign for Community
  1. Vice-President’s Report
  1. Past UA Steering
  2. Next UA Steering
  3. University Council
  1. UA Report
  1. Member of the Week
  2. Retreat Feedback
  3. Associate Members
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. Social Justice
  2. Student Life
  1. Project Updates
  1. Career Services Headshots Program
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Penn Wellness Student Program Discussion Paper
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Project Updates
  1. Nursing Clinicals and Lab Fees
  1. Dining, Sustainability and Facilities
  2. Communications


President’s Report

  1. Administrator Meetings:
  1. Amy Gutmann
  1. Cabinet had its fall semester meeting with President Gutmann this week. We discussed costs of attendance, particularly tuition, creating standardized six-month mental health leaves of absence, faculty diversity, developing half-credit courses, strategies to reduce interpersonal violence and eliminate rape culture, and increasing school spirit including through events like Fan Fest.
  1. Student Registration and Financial Services
  1. The UA and SCUE met with senior leadership from SRFS this week. We discussed work-study and non-work-study job availability and wages, creating emergency funding sources for FGLI and other low-income students (particularly over breaks), integrating SRFS programming into TAP, creating grants to cover non-textbook course costs, and NGSS/ PennInTouch updates.
  1. Upcoming
  1. Cabinet is meeting with Business Services, including VP Marie Witt, on 10/12 (the Wednesday after Fall Break).
  1. Council of Undergraduate Deans
  1. CUD had its monthly meeting this past Wednesday. We discussed the theme year (Year of Media), reviewed NSO and the Penn Reading Project, talked about modifying TAP, went over VPUL’s new plan to communicate more clearly with students after campus tragedies, and talked with Athletic Director Grace Calhoun about how the schools can work to improve the experience of student-athletes. I am going to submit discussion topics for the October CUD meeting along with the Chair of SCUE, Jane Xiao, who is the other undergraduate on the committee.
  1. Campaign for Community
  1. Applications are open for the Campaign for Community, a fund that sponsors events that encourage dialogue about issues important to the Penn community. The Campaign’s key goals including creating space for multiple (and sometimes divergent) points of view. Any student or student group can apply until the fall semester deadline, November 1st. Grants range from $250 to $3,000. The UA has three seats on the C4C Steering Committee, which is one of the groups that reviews requests. To learn more or apply, go to

Vice-President’s Report

  1. Past UA Steering
  1. Last week, we had Craig Carnaroli (Executive Vice President), Tony Sorrentino (Executive Director to EVP), and Karu Kozuma (Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs) at Steering. We had a productive meeting discussing various topics like academic stress, business services, sexual assault, public safety and financial aid.
  1. Next UA Steering
  1. Next UA Steering will take place this Tuesday at 7:30pm at JMHH 350. Special guests will be Dr. Michael Horowitz (Associate Director) and Katelyn Leader (Program Director) from the Perry World House. Please submit questions to me as soon as possible if you have any questions for the administrators.
  1. University Council
  1. First University Council of the year will take place this Wednesday at 4pm in Bodek Lounge. There will be a preparation meeting on Tuesday night with all the student representatives.

UA Report

  1. Member of the Week. This week’s member of the week is…
  2. Retreat Feedback
  1. I hope you all felt that the retreat was a beneficial experience—both in terms of education about Penn and the UA and team building. As always, I want your feedback. I will be sending out a form this week prompting you to give us your thoughts on things that we did well and things upon which could be improved for the following year.
  1. Associate Members
  1. The Associate Members submitted their applications this week and were interviewed. We had a higher volume of applicants than the volume in previous years. The Exec Board conducted all of the interviews and consulted with the committee directors to take into account what project ideas they found interesting/what was the highest capacity they could take on. They will be joining committee meetings this week!

Treasurer’s Report

Secretary’s Report

Social Justice

Student Life

Project Updates

Career Services Headshots Program

Authored by: Max Grove and Kat McKay

This week we met with Pat Rose, Director of Career Services, and three other staff members from her office: Anne Marie Gercke, Mylene Kerschner, and Michael deAngelis. We discussed partnering with Career Services to provide free headshots to Penn undergraduate students. In the past, Career Services has used their office’s DSLR camera to take pictures of students but they discontinued this program because it would sometimes take months to return students’ pictures. Students still need professional-quality headshots, though, especially to use on networking sites like LinkedIn.

Career Services agrees that this is an important service and has proposed restarting the program through a partnership with Weigle Information Commons (WIC). Weigle has a media room with a green screen background that they have offered to use for headshot sessions, which Career Services will staff and organize. The program is still in a planning phase, but the intention is to hold undergraduate student headshot sessions 2-4 times a semester. WIC will provide the technology (backdrops, cameras, immediate downloads to a computer, professional-grade lighting) and the venue. Career Services is considering making the first session open to juniors and seniors without requiring advance sign-ups and then, depending on demand, might switch to an RSVP system or possibly open the program for sophomores and freshmen.

Career Services will contact WIC in the upcoming week to discuss this program with them and will update the UA as it develops.

Discussion Papers

Penn Wellness Student Program Discussion Paper

Authored by: Jay Shah

Background: The Office of University Life, through Ben Bolnick, is working to implement an initiative that would allow Penn students to serve as mental health resources for other students. One of issues with this is that not everyone at Penn is equipped with knowledge about the resources that are available to students. The goal of this initiative is to create a network of student “partners” who will serve as resources for other students to go to if they have any questions. This initiative is necessary because although we do have clubs such as Penn Benjamins, there is no peer-to-peer wellness initiative coming from the University itself. By creating an initiative from the University, we hope that Penn will be able to reach out to more students. In order to make this initiative successful, the UA was asked to have a member to represent the view of the UA and by virtue the student body at all planning meetings. All in all, this initiative is a collaboration between Penn Wellness, the Penn Undergraduate Health Coalition, GAPSA, VPUL, and the Undergraduate Assembly.

The initiative is based on two current programs in place for faculty and staff. One is the Penn Wellness Partners and the other is the Wellness Ambassadors. The Wellness Partners are faculty who are directly interacting with students if they need help with anything and are trained in many disciplines through ICARE and other CAPS training. The Wellness Ambassadors serve as resources for other staff to go to if they have a question about how to deal with a specific situation. For example, if a professor saw some peculiar behavior in class and didn't know how to go about asking the student, this professor would approach a Wellness Ambassador and get advice. The staff member would then guide the student in the right direction.

The current intent for the initiative is to mirror that of Wellness Partners. In other words, there would be trained students who are directly interacting and serving as resources for other students. This initiative is very much in phase 0 and very preliminary. Last week, I was at a  meeting regarding this with Ben Bolnick, Sharon from PUHC, Peter Moon from Penn Wellness, Dr. Max King from VPUL, Meeta Kumar from CAPS, and Ashley from VPUL. The meeting was just an opener on how we should go about designing this program. Some of the ideas that were thrown around were the idea of cohorts, having the student partners similar to peer advisors.

  1. What should the goal(s)/mission statement of this project be?
  1. And what will we call it?
  1. Who will be in it?
  1. What kind of training? ICARE? Penn Bens? Reflections leaders? Cogwell? Others?
  2. Will we reach out to people who have done these trainings already or just recruit starting now?
  3. Will we target specific people so that there are representatives in different “cohorts?” If so, how will we classify these cohorts and then make sure each has a representative?
  4. How do we reach the hard-to-reach students?
  1. How will these people be identifiable?
  1. Stickers? Anything else?
  2. An online list? Opt-in or opt-out? Where would the list be hosted? As a Canvas class? On Penn Wellness? Both? Somewhere else?
  1. What will happen with this group?
  1. Will there be any ongoing training? If so, what?
  2. Social events for them to get to know each other? Planning meetings? Anything else?
  3. Any kind of collaborations with the Wellness Partners?
  1. How will we sustain this project?
  1. Will this project be a joint effort between UA, PUHC, PW, and VPUL (and GAPSA, if they want)? If so, how will this project live on when you guys graduate?

Academic Initiatives

Project Updates

Nursing Clinical and Lab Fees

Authored by: Ian Jeong

I am working on improving the transparency of nursing school cost of attendance and increasing financial aid available for nursing students for their lab and clinical fees. I met with Antoinette Oteri, the Financial Aid Director of SON last week to talk about my project. Two things came out of the meeting.

1. School of Nursing's website now explicitly informs current and prospective students that the projected cost of attendance listed on the website does not include clinical and lab fees. And those fees will be added as they advance through their education.

2. Nursing school will now streamline the process to increase nursing students' budgets to include clinical and lab fees once those charges get added. Antoinette will work with SFS to develop this process and get back to me.

Does anyone have any other ideas of how to streamline this process?

Dining, Sustainability, and Facilities


Daniel Penn leads the vote

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  1. Penn Leads the Vote
  1. The voter registration deadline is October 11.  We are going to be on Locust Walk this Mon-Wed in front of Penn Women's Center. We meet with groups on campus to take pictures and get them registered to vote. If you have anyone in mind, please make them aware of this. We want to reach as many people as possible. Free shirts
  2. Sam- It’s Oct 2 and so FAFSA came out. Get your paperwork done
  3. Kyle- Jay brought up instagram last week.  I was wondering what you guys think should be used as social media. What about facebook, twitter?
  1. Krone- I think all 3 could be used
  1. Ian- For the bus service,  people have to get off at Hill and then go back on.
  1. Kat- That is frustrating. It’s a bus driver union thing that if they drive for a certain time, they get a certain time off. We can look into that.
  1. Elena- Are UA allowed to fill out contingency requests for other groups?
  1. Michelle- Yes that should be fine
  2. Kat- If you are on the club, then yes
  3. Riad- If she is presenting for the club, would she vote?
  1. michelle - yes
  1. Justin- If there is anyone else that can do it, that would be better
  2. Kat- There is a case of conflict of interest. It is an external club but you are an internal member of the UA
  3. Michelle- It's always the best idea to have your treasurer do it.
  4. Elena- I work directly with the treasurer and the deputy. I can discuss it with them because of the conflict of interest.
  5. Sam I- To DSF, I have had a few people  ask me about how gym hours are changing. Why and how should be addressed?
  1. Tonna- What are they changed to?
  1. They now open at 10 am on some days
  1. Kyle- They have been losing a lot of money and that is why they are opening later

  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Administrator Meetings
  1. Amy Gutmann
  1. If you see anything that you have a question about please ask. Information can be found in the President’s Report.
  1. Student Registration and Financial Services
  1. Registrar, Head of Financial Aid, Head of IT was there. SCUE was also there. Information can be found in the President’s Report.
  1. Upcoming
  1. We have no meetings this week. The following week we are meeting with Business Services.
  1. Questions
  1. Krone - Do we have a GBM this coming week?
  1. No we don't
  1. Tonna- Cost of attendance? Faculty Diversity? And Rape culture?
  1. Cost of Attendance: Her main claim was that percentage-wise financial aid has grown at a faster rate than the cost of tuition. She said that she cares a lot about tuition. 16% of students are on Pell grants. Nothing really substantive came out of this. It would have been better if we had more time.
  2. Faculty Diversity:  She said she cares and that it is a priority
  3. About Rape Culture: -She said that she likes students taking initiatives
  4. The meeting serves for us to bring up what the students have been doing
  1. Ian- Emergency funding for SRSF?
  1. For some issues that students might need funding quickly, every Penn student has a $1000 line of credit for computers. There might be other things that students have to buy. They are looking into funds to make this happen. They get more involved throughout the SFSR adv board
  1. Council of Undergraduate Deans (CUD)
  1. Rob Nelson, Vice Provost Beth Winkelstein, Dean Furda were there. We did not submit topics for this one because they have to be done very well in advance. We will be contributing to the agenda in the future. There was also a faculty liaison to Athletics. They are working to bridge the gap between what professors know and what they don’t
  2. Lawrence- Did you talk about TAP?
  1. We have been talking about this. Pretty much for this semester the hold is not possible. For the new class the completion rate is almost 100%. They are talking about changing the content. They want it to be useful as possible. They want as much feedback as possible
  2. Sam I- What about communications regarding tragedies?        
  1. When an undergrad student dies, the university will send an email to all students with the same text. In the past, each school sent their own thing. There was a communication working group- decision was there should be consistent communication. Parents who are enrolled in the VPUL listserv will also get an email if something happens.
  2. Sam I- Language used in communication?
  1. The school can't say anything about the cause of the death until an outside physician rules it a certain type of death. They will make sure they will use the word “accident” carefully. Graduate students is a bit different because they identify with the program
  1. Campaign for Community
  1. Provost office manages this. They want 3 people. They have money for events that encourage students to open dialogue about the community. If you want to be on this board , please let me know
  1. Tonna- UMOJA used the fund for an event and it was helpful
  2. Kanisha- Can we use this for food?
  1. Kat-I think it can
  2. Tonna- it can be used for food
  1. Taylor- Is this mostly for a specific type of issue? Political?
  1. Kat- They website has more information on this. However, the topics listed are really broad so they could cover a large field.
  1. Vice-President’s Report
  1. Past UA Steering
  1. EVP Carnaroli was present with Karu and Tony Sorentino. This meeting was off the record so a lot of information can’t be disclosed.
  1. Next UA Steering
  1. This tuesday at 7:30 with Perry World House. Professor Horowitz is great. UA members are ex-officio members so you can come anytime
  2. Krone- ex-office is non voting
  3. Sam S- He is a great professor. So please go. One of leading professors
  1. University Council
  1. Sola is the Head of the Steering for University Council. A lot of undergrads won't be there.
  2. Ian- When is that preparation meeting happening
  3. Brian- are members allowed to show up to the UC?
  1. Kat-Yes but you can't speak
  1. UA Report
  1. Member of the Week
  1. Max Grove
  1. Retreat Feedback
  1. I will be sending out a form later for feedback
  1. Associate Members
  1. We got a higher number of applicants. 24 applicants. They will join the committees next Mon/Tues
  2. Taylor- Is there a target number?
  1. In the past we would usually take everyone. This time we have a lot of applications. We are looking for project ideas and if they are able to come.
  1. Krone- will AMs be getting apparel
  1. No
  1. Treasurer’s Report

  1. Social Justice
  2. Student Life
  1. Project Updates
  1. Career Services Headshots Program
  1. Met with Kat Rose for head shots for undergraduates for any professional. In the past they used DSLR in the past, but it would take like 6 months to get pictures. They should partner up with Weigle Education Commons ( tech). Weigle would provide the technology with Career Services would provide the staff.
  2. Tonna- Is this something that is being planned?
  1. Kat-It is still in the planning stage. Older students are in more need for headshots during recruitment now so they might do that for this semester but change the model now.
  2. Kyle- Partnering up with Clubs?
  1. Max- We talked about how Wharton clubs do that, but there is an issue with copyright
  2. Kat- In the past, the Linkedin bus came, but that has been discontinued. You should not have to be in a group to get this service. How do we get it to them?
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Penn Wellness Student Program Discussion Paper
  1. Jay: This is a new initiative taking place. Ben Bolnick from VPUL asked that I get feedback from the UA. There isn’t a name, but I will call this the Wellness Student Program for clarity. This started because we realized student’s aren’t knowledgeable about the resources Penn has, so they want to create a network of students who know so that other students can go to them if they need anything. They might be trained by CAPS. There are two model programs in place, both for faculty only. Wellness Partners are faculty who directly interact with students if they need anything and are trained by ICARE. Wellness Ambassadors are faculty who other faculty can go to if they see something in class and don’t know how to approach the problem. The goal of our program is to mirror Wellness Partners for students. It’s a partnership between VPUL, GAPSA, Penn Wellness, PUHC, and the UA. Jane Meyer, the former President, signed on. If you have any feedback on the mission, how we identify student participants, (something like peer advisors, but how do you identify them?), what will happen with this group, and if our partnership will continue.
  2. Jason: What’s the difference between this and Penn Bens?
    Jay: The rationale is that Penn Ben's has a specific place and time, but this would allow resources anytime and anywhere. Not limited by space or tie.
  3. Brian: Have they considered working with Penn Bens or other organizations?
  4. Jay: That was one of the questions. Do we take students from Penn Reflections or Penn Bens? They want to make one unit-- maybe having members who are in Penn Bens go through the same training as others to be part of the initiative.
  5. Jordan: How do you make sure it doesn’t feel like students aren’t being targeted as violating Penn Face, that you’re somebody who needs help?
    Jay: If a professor sees something, they should take action and aren’t just bystanders. It’s in the hopes that if a student is close to a professor they go to them and the professor is equipped to handle that.
  6. Sam: The main difference between this and Penn Bens is the capacity and availability. Will this be 24/7?
  7. Jay: The way I like to think of it is that these are like your peer advisors, but they are specialists in what the school has to offer in terms of mental health resources. If you know someone who is a student partner you can message them at any time and they can guide you in the right direction.
  8. Michelle: I met with the Penn Bens treasurer and they have been struggling with funding a little. How is this initiative going to be funded? Split equally among collaborators? Or just VPUL?
  9. Jay: Funding hasn’t come up yet. The focus right now is are we going to do this program, are we going to go with it, is it feasible?
  10. Krone: Have you reached out to or been in contact with people from RAPLine? They are every night from 9pm-1am answering phone calls. Is there a way to expand that through this? Is it possible to expand that program to do an in-person chat during those hours when Penn Bens isn’t available?
  11. Jay: No we haven’t been in contact with them but that is something we can look into. In terms of person-to-person to contact, these people would be like peer advisors so you could set up a meeting but RAPLine could be one of the groups that helps with this.
  12. Kanishka: My question was if this is a need from students and Penn Benjamins doesn’t meet all the hours, is that something that was brought up with Penn Bens? Is that something they can improve within their organization?
  13. Jay: I don’t know.
  14. Kat: Difference between student-driven and formal administrative program.
  15. Jason: Is there a way to keep students who need help completely anonymous?
  16. Jay: The RAP Line is anonymous. This program is for students to find out who partners are. Do we put their names on websites? These partners are meant to be identified.
  17. Krone: We talked about this last year in SL. We could put a special laptop sticker to those who complete the training. The main problem that we clarified with that system is that if you see someone with a laptop sticker in the library you aren’t going to ask them for help in that setting. Although I do think the people involved in the program would stop what they are doing and help. You are always identifiable but the disconnect is it’s difficult for someone to get the courage to approach you.  I like the idea of more extensive peer-to-peer networks. Maybe we could add more to TAP. I think anonymity in terms of the RAP line really helps. I think that’s a key point, although it detracts from the point that this builds community. I think this is a good idea in theory.
  18. Sam: How many students do they want to recruit for this?
    Jay: Max King said as many as we can. We want to make this as broad as possible. How do we get students to join?
  19. Jordan: To your second point-- you mention cohorts, but can you clarify that?
  20. Jay: The way that other faculty find their ambassador is through their department, which is a cohort or community. How do we do that with students? Peer advisors are random. We could do it by major, by student group, by grade or by interest. If there’s a student partner there would be a certain number of students assigned to them. That’s the cohort idea.
  21. Tonna: Could you look at students in student groups to train them? Students may want to be anonymous or they would want to talk to a peer they already know.  The people who are in their student groups could go to them.
  22. Brian: I want to address your fifth question. I recommend that the initiative could serve as an umbrella organization for the wellness groups. It would be more effective and less confusing. I think that it’s good to recruit a lot of people, but until the project is finalized and people know their roles you shouldn’t start recruiting.
  23. Max: Could freshmen and sophomores have peer advisors go through this training? My peer advisor said we could contact her 24/7.
  24. Jay: It’s not an umbrella organization because this is not a club. This is something that the University is doing. In terms of peer advisor, that is what I am pushing for. It would make things a lot easier. But are they willing to do it? If they’re not willing to do it, it raises more questions.
  25. Kanishka: We need to make sure this is segmented from other groups that offer similar programs.
  26. Krone: I am a peer advisor and I think it would be great to expand our training to ICARE. How extensive is the ICARE training and how long does it take?
    Jay: It’s 7 hours and they go over mental health trends, CAPS research, listening techniques, crisis intervention skills, and self-care. It’s comprehensive training that student wellness partners would need.
  27. Krone: I know other Peer Advisors would want to be involved in this process, but Peer Advisors are just for the College so you have to coordinate with different schools’ groups. I think this is a good network to turn to. But these people do become less in-touch as the year goes on.
  28. Sam: If you’re going to target Peer Advisors, you have to be careful with the other schools. In Wharton we have 60 people per cohort. We also have mentors within the Cohort. 7 hours is a big chunk of time for one training.
  29. Jay: There is a shortened three hour version of the ICARE training
  30. Kat: Upperclassmen don’t have peer advisors.
  31. Michelle: Penn Bens’ president is on Penn Wellness’ Exec Board. I don’t think Penn Bens is concerned about segmentation.
  32. Natasha: It would still be good to train peer advisors for underclassmen. The levels of relationships that they create can vary vastly. That can create unfair advantages or disadvantages for others. I’m not sure if all of them would be willing to be vulnerable with peer advisors.
  33. Kyle: I was a SEAS orientation advisor this year. They tell us to make sure the freshmen aren’t dependent on us over time. I have seen that over time they stop reaching out to you because they have different places to go. It’s most helpful over the summer.
  34. Riad: I was an OPA Fellow this year. The people who sign up to be academic advisors may not have the same interest or skills to fulfill this kind of service for freshmen. I think this should be an opt-in program. We can strongly encourage OPAs and Peer Advisors to take this training but it shouldn’t be linked to academic mentorship part.
  35. Krone: What do you mean by “how do we reach hard to reach students”?
  36. Jay: That is where this idea of mentorship came from. If we had student partners on their website, students wouldn’t go up to them in person. By having them assigned to someone, the partner could reach out to them. It would increase the reach of this initiative.
  37. Krone: Maybe look into trying to expand the training. RAs and GAs go into extensive training. We are also distributing Wellness Guides to RAs and GAs so they may also be a good resource to talk to to get more insights about reaching hard to reach students.
  38. Elena: Are the students assigned as student partners going to be volunteers or selected? Or will it be a group already set like the RA GAs or Peer Advisors?
  39. Jay: This initiative is not looking to reach only people who are set. They want it open to the student body. We just need to decide how to go about the process of doing it.
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Project Updates
  1. Nursing Clinicals and Lab
  1. One of the goals of this is to increase transparency. The cost of attendance currently does not include the fees. I talked to them about including all of these fees. Students should know coming in how much they are going to pay in total. Currently, a student has to come into financial aid and ask them to increase their budget. Then they will send it to SFRS. They do it on a case to case basis. I told them they should streamline the process. The director told me that she would update me.
  2. Kanishka- good job
  3. Lawrence- Is there like an average fee that they can put on there? 
  1. Ian- Average would not be fair because it varies so much. Instead we agreed that it would be better to just say that there would be some fees.
  1. Brian- What about lab fees for some science courses?
  1. Ian- I am not sure. It might because all nursing students have to do this. Not everyone in the college has to take these lab classes
  2. Sam S- You can meet with your financial aid director to bump up your aid. I am meeting with them so I will keep this on my radar.
  1. Ian- This was the problem. That you have to deal with the problem on an individual basis. Nursing clinical fee and then a nursing lab fee. I will follow up with an email with you.
  2. Natasha- Is there something on the website that has all the charges so people know when they are taking the course?
  1. It’s not optional and that you have to take them. There is no place that lists the charges.
  1. Jordan- It might be better to mention this in person?
  1. This is done in person for freshman. Not everyone comes to the meetings that give out this information
  1. Dining, Sustainability and Facilities
  2. Communications